Animals, Disaster

Four-Footed Friends

After Hurricane Katrina hit, I was worried about people, but my family can tell you I was also terribly worried about animals. When I came down here last year, I volunteered at the Humane Society of South Mississippi, where they were trying their best to care for the flood of stray animals and surrenders created by the storm, as well as a springtime-like number of post-storm puppies and kittens (because dogs will be dogs and cats will be cats when left to their own devices). 

St. Casserole’s younger pets are all storm babies who were looking for homes in the early fall. Here’s a picture of the sweet doggie brought home by Mr. C and their LS while the women of the family were still evacuated.

(I couldn’t get her to stand far enough away when we were on the same side of the door! Such a dear girl.)

She came from a shelter further north, as there was still no running water here for quite some time, and all animals at the Humane Society had been evacuated, too.

Thursday I visited the new facility belonging to the Humane Society of South Mississippi. It was already under construction before Hurricane Katrina hit, and generous donations after the storm, as well as the interest of the national Humane Society, allowed for its completion.

Last year I was walking dogs housed in its old and over-crowded headquarters, bemoaning the number of puppies and mama dogs and strays and surrenders and cats, cats, cats, all in need of homes. Puppies were being shipped north to find good homes. Both employees and volunteers from all over the country worked hard to keep things clean and safe for sweet dogs and cats and scary ones, too.

Now the animals looking for homes are all housed in a gorgeous and immaculate home in another part of town. They still need donations, of course, and if you are so moved, the link above will tell you how to make one. The HSSM is offering spaying/neutering for $10, to encourage people not to have unwanted puppies and kittens. Of course it costs them much more than $10 for the time and supplies needed for the surgeries. Meanwhile they continue to deal with many strays, because in a place where all the fences blew down, and a roof is a greater priority than a fence, it’s easy to take off on an adventure or a ramble if you are four-footed and so inclined. The Humane Society is micro-chipping every pet leaving its doors, but still there are unidentified animals who come to them and end up needing new homes.

My heart was captured by a young adult Rottweiler, Apollo, who barked a hearty and friendly "Hey!" when he saw me walking by.

I cannot take him home, but I inquired about what it would cost to adopt him and made a donation of about the same amount.

I wish there were more I could do for dogs and cats who are without homes. I know I can’t understand losing this friendly boy and not coming to look for him. But my life is settled and relatively non-chaotic, and that is not how it is here 16 months after Katrina. There is still a great deal of sorting out to do, of houses and neighborhoods and, most of all, lives.   

(Thanks to St. Casserole for getting me the pictures below, taken around the time the new facility  opened.)




15 thoughts on “Four-Footed Friends”

  1. thank you for remembering me and my brothers/sisters in the fur. i feel like howling when i see animals without owners. too sad.
    you can come live with us, ok? we love you.
    your deep south dog,

  2. The animal stories during the hurricane really killed me. I remember thinking I would rather euthanize my dogs than leaving them behind to fend for themselves. What awful situations.

  3. I know what it’s like to live in a shelter, and it is NOT FUN, even if you have 2 brothers to play with. You’re a very nice lady to go and visit the animals, and St. Cassie is a really nice lady to be their human! I hope my human goes back to the shelter and gets me a whole bunch more brothers and sisters.

  4. When I was very little and hiding out under a shrub, people thought I was going to grow up to look like Apollo. Then after The Alpha and The Typist took me home, I sprouted German Shepherd ears, nose, and tail. (My tail didn’t have any hair on it at all when I met them. It looked like a gray possum tail.)

  5. wow 🙂 I remember you walking the bigger 4-legged friends last year. Lovely you visited again this time!!!
    You inspire me to do better things you know 🙂

  6. Thanks so much for the pictures. I’m so glad they have such a fine new facility and pray that a lot more dear friends like Sister and Whistle and Fish find loving homes.

  7. I remember watching on tv the number of pets lost, and it broke my heart. Glad there is a new facility. Appollo looks adorable, wish I could adopt him.
    Everywhere there are pets needing homes, needing spaying, nuetering.
    Glad you have the heart for them.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this. It shows all the good that is coming from such disaster. These animals now have a beautiful shelter so families can find their new family member.

  9. Lorna,
    Thank you for noticing that I am a “lovely…” dog. I SHOULD have my own blog. However, I am very busy as the Nanny to those cats. I fall asleep exhausted at 9 pm. every night!
    Sister, a “Lovely” dog

  10. What a wonderful story! Thanks for this Songbird. I was heartbroken by the stories of animals left behind too. I could not imagine the pain of having to do that. Thank you for telling a story of hope. I am sending a donation to them and wish I could fly home some of the animals.

  11. Oh. My.
    I must not let my beloved bearded spouse see this page! BBS is mad for cats who need laps… Though it sounds Suessian, it is true, since all of our cat children were foundlings, pound purrys or doorstep deliveries…

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